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Enjoy summer’s local harvest salad-style!  Organic salads are the perfect summer meal!  They’re cool and light on a hot day (it’s coming!).  You don’t have to heat up the oven or stove top and you can prepare most of it ahead of time and be ready with a nutritious meal after a long day of work or play!  

There are basically 5 types of salads with endless possibilities.  There’s the green salad, the fruit salad, the rice and pasta salads, bound salads, and the dinner salad.  Each uniquely highlights different produce items perfectly!

The green salad is often referred to as a garden salad and usually consists of lettuce, spinach or leafy greens of any sort.  It’s often topped with a vinaigrette or light dressing.  In American restaurants we’re usually served green salads before a meal.  In some European countries the green salad is served at the end of the meal and thought to improve digestion.  Maybe we pick to have it first so that we’re sure to eat it before we’re too full! Some parents pick to serve salad first, because the kids are more likely to eat it if it’s served before carbs.

Everyone loves a delicious fruit salad!  There’s no fussing to get kids to eat it and could be added to every meal or as a dessert!  Fruit is high in fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants and has a low energy density level.  There’s no right or wrong way to create a fruit salad. Simply chop up and put together your favorites! Adding a little lemon, orange or pineapple juice to your fruit salad will help keep the colors of the fruit bright and prevent them from browning. Fruit salad is best consumed shortly after preparation to maintain freshness.

Rice, quinoa and pasta salads are a great base for adding all sorts of diced up veggies, increasing the nutritional value of your more filling meal or side dish.  They can be prepared ahead of time and will even take on more of the flavors as they rest in the refrigerator for a bit.  If you dice up the veggies small, you can keep them raw and pack in a lot of nutritional density, filled with lots of beautiful colors, and yummy crunch!  

The bound salad generally is made of hearty, non-leafy ingredients bound together with a thicker dressing and can even keep its shape if scooped with an ice cream scoop.  Bound salads are often used to make a delicious hearty sandwich by topping a piece of whole wheat bread with a scoop of something like a chicken salad or chickpea salad and topping it with lettuce.  Or a bound salad could be a side dish of potato salad, combined with a variety of veggie crunch!

Last but not least, is the dinner salad.  The dinner salad is a hearty stand-alone that fills your plate with a combination of delicious and nutritious produce items and usually includes an added protein. Some popular dinner salads include taco salad, Buddha bowls, Asian salad, salmon salad, but the sky’s the limit! Variety is also multiplied when you factor in salad dressings! They deserve their own spotlight and we’ll talk more about that later!

We’d love to see some of your favorite salads and be inspired by your creations!  Share on social media and tag “Klesick’s” and we’ll reshare for all to enjoy!

Joelle Klesick

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Washboards and Homemade Pumpkin Pie

Our nine-year-old is in the fun stage of seeing the world idyllically.  She knows that in our family we like to try to be wise with our resources, do our part in preserving the planet, and make healthy choices whenever possible.  So, she has suggested using a washboard to do laundry, using candles exclusively to light our home, and walking or riding our bike everywhere we go!  Wow, the enthusiasm is contagious; for about 30 seconds!

I don’t think most of our goals are that extreme, but I love that sort of back to the earth, simplistic thinking.  When it comes to food, there are some tangible things we can do to make it easier to embrace frugal, healthier choices for our bodies and our planet!

Eat food as close to its natural state as possible, in season, and with minimal added processing or packaging.  This saves money, time, resources, and is healthier!   “Healthy” junk food has become readily available, but it usually comes with a higher price tag, and almost always a higher environmental cost!

Take a minute, check your pantry and fridge, and evaluate what processed foods you use most, and think about whether there is a natural choice for a better alternative.  With fall upon us, I’ll use pumpkin as an example.  Many fall recipes call for canned pumpkin.  Have you ever tasted canned pumpkin before adding it to a recipe?  Oh my!  There is literally no temptation at all to lick the spatula when emptying a can of pumpkin.  Try making your pumpkin puree from a fresh, local, delicious, organic Pie Pumpkin!  It’s super easy! You will never go back to canned, and you’ll probably be found guilty of not only sneaking a taste but going back for seconds!  It’s healthier, yummier, supports local, and is better for the environment!

To make a simple pumpkin puree, first, wash your pumpkin, slice it in half, scoop out the seeds, place the halves open side down on a baking sheet, then roast in a 400-degree oven until tender, about 45 minutes.  Scoop out the flesh, place in a heavy-duty blender or food processor, and blend until smooth.  Voila!  It’s simple.

Now, be forewarned; when you tell people that you made your pumpkin pie from a locally grown, organic pumpkin, they may just look at you like you just washed your clothes with a washboard! Our culture has taken convenience to the extreme in some areas.  Don’t be afraid to reevaluate the food choices that you’re making for you and your family.  You don’t need to compromise your values for convenience; instead, keep it simple.    

-Joelle Klesick

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Back To Fall

Let’s face it, letting go of the leisure of summer and getting back into a fall routine can be rough!  For us, fall includes getting the kids up and going earlier, breakfast for all, packing school lunches, thinking about after-school snacks, and planning for evening dinner.  We don’t want to be caught off guard and resort to making unhealthy choices, so planning is key. 

Starting out with healthy ingredients in the fridge and pantry is a great start!  Customers tell us all the time that since they began receiving Klesick’s fruit and vegetable boxes, their family has been eating more nutritiously!  We love hearing that!    

Don’t let the busyness and hungry-belly time crunch push you into a corner!  Stay ahead of it so you’re not tempted to compromise your nutritional values!  When you get your produce box, take a few minutes to prep some of your vegetables so that the items are quick and convenient to use!  You can always chop up cauliflower and broccoli and then store in a sealed container.  You can scrub or peel carrots so they’re ready for dinner or a quick snack.  Also, evaluate the items for longevity.  Some of the pit-fruit, berries, or tender greens are best enjoyed within a few days after delivery!   

Take a few minutes and think about how you can add more fruit and vegetables to your meals.  Make a list of healthy choices and post it on your fridge so you can peak at it when you lack inspiration.  Our breakfasts often include a huge bowl of cut up mixed fruit and berries, topped with plain yogurt and a sprinkle of chopped nuts or homemade granola, so I make sure we always have fruit choices on hand. We also enjoy veggie omelets to go with Tristan’s homemade sourdough bread! Having pre-chopped or even pre-cooked vegetables ready to go make a morning omelet practically a fast food! 

For school lunches, we try to keep our kid’s favorite raw vegetables on hand; cucumbers, carrots, and peppers!  Our kids pretty much have them every day, so ordering these items as an add-on works great because then we’re sure to have enough for the whole week.   

After school snacks usually come straight from our HUGE fruit basket!  The kids can take their pick!  We also keep cut up veggies and a choice of dips, ready and available, in the fridge. 

We keep our dinners nutritious, but simple, and we rarely use recipes.  At our house, we make a lot of veggie stir-fries served with meat or beans, over rice.  We also love to make a huge tray of roasted vegetables and serve as a main dish, or side, or over a salad.  We also make a lot of soups, stews, and salads!  Once you get comfortable with any of these dishes, they are all super easy to quickly throw together, and you can even make enough to use as a base for the next day’s meal! Do as much prep work when you have free time so, when the pressure comes at mealtime, you are ready to take it on!   

Eating healthy is totally achievable in the midst of a busy schedule, but we’ve learned that having good ingredients on hand, and a little pre-planning, sure helps! 

-Joelle Klesick